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What to do

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Im going to university this fall, and so my audio will be out of a laptop and my portable DAP. I currently own ms-1's which I am very happy with, but im looking for more. I dont currently have an amp. Im looking for a dac/amp for the laptop, and a new pair of headphones. It looks like the 2006 total bithead is what I am looking for, but the thing is I dont NEED something that portable, and my question is whether there is something that would deliver better sound and input/output options that maybe isnt as portable, but around the same price?

Secondly, Ive been looking at the akg k701, beyer dt880, and alessandro ms-2 mainly. I like many types of music, particularly rock/metal, but many others as well. Would the total bithead be able to drive the beyers to decent volumes? How much of a difference will I notice between the ms-1 and the ms-2? I really like the sound of the ms-1, but I think a new sound would compliment them well. And overall which would you recommend assuming im using the total bithead to drive them?

Thanks
post #2 of 8
Of all your questions there is only a piece of one of them that I can almost address. I also have the MS-1s and very much like the sound. I also am looking for an upgrade and I have ALSO looked closely at the K701 and DT880(whew)! All I can offer is what I think I know about the MS-1 and the MS2i.

I have read literally dozens of comparrisons of MS-1 and 2 and the comments range from whole new league to very little difference at all. I've boiled all the comments down to a slight additional ammount of brightness, of soundstage, of extension both top and bottom and a bit more detail and resolution through the MS2. But yet they sound about the same. The MS2i weighs about 100gm more than MS-1 but the difference isn't noticed at all....or...it's way too heavy...or...it is heavier but it ain't too bad. It seems as though the MS2 sounds better than the MS-1 unamped, but sounds even better yet with a proper amp.

Or something like that.
post #3 of 8
What kind of soundcard do you have for your laptop?

I'd start there. I just picked up an Indigio IO, and it's AMAZING! That might be enough for you, but even if it isn't and you decide you need an additional amp, you should have a good source component to be amplifying

Most stock laptop soundcards (e.g. AC97) suck.
post #4 of 8
Issue 1: Slag makes a good point in that your soundcard is the key question here. Don't assume your onboard DAC is a problem and not just your onboard amplification until you've found a way to try a different amplification regime. Then if you're happy with your onboard dac, you can get better amplification than a bithead for less money. (Little Dot II+, say) If you still want to take a jump up in DACage as well, then the bithead starts to make sense. If you can do soundcard PLUS amp, then you might beat the bithead in that way too. A desktop amp won't work won't work for your DAP, of course, though you seem to be willing to do without on the portable front.

Issue 2: If you already have an MS-1, then why get an MS-2i? The MS-1 is solid, why not branch into something that sounds different, to give yourself a richer coverage of your music collection? For that, the DT880 or maybe even more the K701 (or K601) would be a fine choice. Unless you mainly listen to only one branch of music, then I think one very good headphone will always get trumped by two decent headphones of very different sound signatures.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
to slag: the bithead is a source component and an amplifier if im not mistaken, so it should provide good sound and good amplification. Im assuming that the indigo IO wont provide as good of a headphone output as the bithead...right? Hmm

And ok, i dont think ill be going for the ms-2 then, since I probably will end up thinking it sounds the same as the ms-1. Would the bithead be able to drive the dt880's properly?
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by leapincoog
to slag: the bithead is a source component and an amplifier if im not mistaken, so it should provide good sound and good amplification. Im assuming that the indigo IO wont provide as good of a headphone output as the bithead...right? Hmm
Depends on what you mean by "good". My Indigo I/O sounds wonderful (especially when being fed a 24-bit bitstream). It also has enough mojo to drive my IEM's and my Sony MDR-V6's. But it doesn't make enough juice for my Senn HD-600's. So my guess is that it pretty much comes down to what you'll be plugging into it.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
well what I mean is , which has a higher quality headphone amplifier, the bithead or the indigo? im thinking about getting the k701's, so they arnt a huge load but theyre significant.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by leapincoog
well what I mean is , which has a higher quality headphone amplifier, the bithead or the indigo? im thinking about getting the k701's, so they arnt a huge load but theyre significant.
The BitHead has "more" amplifier. I don't know which generates the highest quality sound, but the BitHead has more juice to drive headphones than does just the Indigo soundcard.
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